I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter Review

Warning: Contains spoilers. Do not continue reading this post if you want to read I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter but haven’t yet. You’ve been warned.

I finished I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez a little while ago but held off on writing a review for it. I did this mainly because I always felt bad writing a review on something I didn’t enjoy. I had super high expectations for this book and was left disappointed.

I forget how I heard about this book, but the summary had me hooked. It’s a book about how a young Mexican-American girl named Julia is continuously compared to her “perfect” sister named Olga, who recently died. Julia finds some questionable things in Olga’s rooms that make her wonder if she really was the angel her parents thought she was.

Now, I promise I’m not bashing this author. I’m just writing my honest opinion about her book, which didn’t meet my expectations. Here’s a review based on some book club questions I found online. I figured this would make writing my book reviews a little easier.

Likes About the Book

What did you like best about the book?

I think it had a super interesting and somewhat relatable topic. I’m pretty sure there are so many kids who always get compared to their siblings, and I know how bad it can make you feel. Nobody likes constantly hearing, “why can’t you be more like your brother?” or “why aren’t you as active as your sister?” Even though I’m not Mexican, I also understand what it’s like being the child of immigrant parents.

What do you think of the book’s title? How does it relate to the book’s contents? What other title might you choose?

The title immediately grabbed my interest. I think it definitely relates to the book’s contents about how Julia is always expected to be this perfect Mexican daughter like Olga, but she wasn’t. I was also interested in seeing what life was like for a Mexican-American teen and if it was similar to my life as a Jamaican-American.

What do you think the author’s purpose was in writing this book? What ideas were they trying to get across?

I think Sanchez’s purpose in writing I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter was for Julia to tell her story. What I got from it was that the book was pretty much like Julia’s journal or diary. She was writing about how she was feeling after her sister’s death, dealing with anxiety and depression, and her desire for going to college and becoming a writer.

Since it was written in first person, it was narrated casually and laid-back, giving us a feel of Julia’s personality. I think it’s pretty much a diary for Mexican-American teenagers who struggle with a lot.

If you could hear this same story from another person’s point of view, who would you choose?

I’d be curious to hear the story from Olga’s point of view before she died. I think it would be interesting to hear what goes on through her head and how she feels being the “perfect” Mexican daughter. I’m wondering if she had similar thoughts as Julia.

Dislikes About the Book

What did you like least about the book?

I didn’t like the way the story was told. After reading the summary, I had an idea of what I thought would happen, and that never happened. I was more interested in finding out why Olga wasn’t the perfect child, and it took sooooooooo long to find that out. And when we did find it out, it was like “there, this happened,” and that was it.

Also, I found pretty much all the characters to be unlikable. Julia was super annoying, and her mom got on my nerves. I feel like her dad’s character didn’t serve any purpose. I was also kind of under the impression that Julia was an unreliable narrator. I wasn’t a fan of how she narrated the story. Like I have no idea why a lot of the scenes or characters were even there.

Which characters in the book did you like the least?

I feel like most of the characters in the book were unlikeable. I couldn’t stand Lorena or Julia’s parents. I think Lorena was a terrible friend and influence on Julia, and I had no idea why her character was in the book. And Julia’s mom constantly pointed out what was wrong with Julia and how she wasn’t like her sister. It got to the point where it just became too much. I also find Julia whiney and annoying.

What feelings did this book evoke for you?

Mostly annoyance! I felt annoyed for Julia because her mom was so aggravating and always on her about everything. It reminded me of my mom growing up. I also felt so angry when Julia’s mom tore up her notebook and told her to her face at the quinceanera that she didn’t want that Olga’s death was pretty much her fault.

I was also waiting so long to figure out Olga’s big secret, and it just seemed so anticlimactic. Like, Julia went through all that trouble to find out what Olga was hiding, and then nothing. She had dinner with the man Olga was having an affair with, they talked, and that was that. I expected so much more. So, I was mostly annoyed while reading this book.

What did you think of this book’s length? If it’s too long, what would you cut? If too short, what would you add?

I’d cut a lot of the scenes that didn’t seem to take the story anywhere. Like, some parts were mentioned and never brought up again, like Lorena’s creepy stepdad. I also don’t think Connor’s character didn’t add much value to the story either. He didn’t even get into Olga’s laptop. He just showed up out of nowhere, made Julia feel all giddy, and didn’t seem to add anything relavent to the story.

Did the book’s pace seem too fast, slow, or just right?

The book’s pacing was way too slow.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I think I’d give the book about a 2 out of 10. I had to force myself to continue reading, hoping it would get better, but I didn’t really enjoy it. It also made me realize that I prefer plot-driven books over character-driven ones, and this book was mostly character-driven. Based on the summary, I thought it would focus more on Julia finding out if Olga was truly the perfect daughter her mom thought she was, but it was mainly Julia complaining about how much she hates her life.

I haven’t read any other books by this author, and I’m not sure if I will. I was unimpressed with this book after having such high expectations for it.

Now time to tackle the next book in my TBR pile.

Thanks for reading!

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